Germany: Ten hectares of tomatoes built on former mining area

In the former German mining area around Saarbrücken, tomatoes and peppers will soon grow on residual heat and electricity from combined heat and power (CHP). In total, 10 hectares of greenhouses will be built. 

The project is an initiative of energy entrepreneur Albert Winzent and a partner from the garden center industry. Winzent had plans for some time, but only recently implemented the plans. With just over seventy workers, annually 5,300 tons of tomatoes and 2,700 tons of peppers will have to be picked. Buyers will be chain stores from the region that also want fresh regional vegetables in their assortment in the winter.

The greenhouses are built on land of the company Neue Energie Saar (NES) which is owned by Winzent. Together with a construction partner, he founded Geiger Energietechnik, which focuses on the energy needs of small businesses. Geiger Energietechnik supplies customized energy, based on CHP.

"Horticulture in particular is a good purchaser of energy because it requires a lot of power for artificial lighting. Also they can use the excess hot water from CHPs to keep their greenhouse warm."

A new introduced energy measure by the European Union in 2018 poses a setback for Winzent. From now on, the full tax rate will also be charged on energy from CHPs. Regional politicians oppose the measure, but for the time being Winzent will have to pay 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour.

Source: Saarbrücker Zeiting

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